Category: Food Allergy Tips

Gluten-Free in Berlin!

Hello darling readers!

This summer, I spent a full five weeks in the amazing, warm-yet-edgy, and full-on-crazy city of Berlin! This place is one of the best places in the world for vegans, allergy-laden types (GF inclusive) and really anyone. Food is good, cheap and inventive.

Soooo… without further ado, may I present you with my favourite restaurants that cater to allergy-conscious, plat-based diet types…

First off, my ‘hood of Neukölln, a largely immigrant and up-and-coming area! There are two cafes here that I went to on a regular basis. And man, I was there so often, everyone knew me by name even though my German is… uhmmm… let’s say rudimentary (at best). The first is the adorable Cafe Plume, which proprietor Charlotte has somehow created into a comfy neighbourhood “refuge.” She is there every, single day, from 8pm to 8pm (or beyond), and makes an effort to get to know all customers. She’s also a language teacher, and every Thursday, she hosts Language Night at her cafe. Charlotte is truly one of the most amazing people I met in Berlin. Also, they make the world’s BEST vegan, gluten-free brownies. No kiddin’. Hands down, world’s best. They also have guest chefs from time to time. When I was there, they had a lovely Jamaican set dinner. Charlotte takes great care to prepare food that suits you! You can also just go there, relax, drink a glass of wine, shoot the breeze with other customers. Ahhhh… I miss the place old European charm of this dress-down cafe.

Cafe Plume, Berlin (20/20)  

Warthestraße 60, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: *****
  • Atmosphere: Amazing aura *****
  • Service: *****
  • Cost: $ for Germany! Dishes range from RM30+ to RM60+ for entrees
World's most amazing gluten-free, vegan sandwich at Muffin Queen Cafe, Neukoelln
World’s most amazing gluten-free, vegan sandwich at Muffin Queen Cafe, Neukoelln

Next up: my go-to place during the day! Queen of Muffins Cafe (strange name, I know, but won’t get a second bat of eyelashes from a Berliner) is another lovely cafe in the same neighbourhood. It’s got a rustic feel, even woodsy! They’ve got notations on the signboard and menu that tell you what is gluten-free, lactose-free, etc. so it’s easy for even non-German speakers to figure out what they can have. I loved their warm sandwiches, which can be made on GF bread! They’ll line their panini presses with a new sheet of paper, so there’s no cross contamination. Lovely, fresh ingredients! They also have a variety of vegan, GF, dairy-free, etc. cakes and cookies. Not the cheapest, but comfy atmosphere, attentive staff, and great food!

Queen of Muffins Cafe, Berlin, Germany (18/20)  

Hermannstraße 164, 12051 Berlin, Deutschland

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: *****
  • Atmosphere: Rustic, comfy ****
  • Service: ****
  • Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM60+ for sandwiches or desserts

The next two restaurants are both on Danziger Straße, near the famous food street (particularly brunch outlets) Schoenhauser Allee.

Raw, vegan, GF crepes at Rawtastic
Raw, vegan, GF crepes at Rawtastic
Rawtastic, Berlin (14/20)  

Danzigerst 16 Berlin, Germany 10435

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: ***
  • Atmosphere: Unremarkable ***
  • Service: ***
  • Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM40+ to RM70+ for entrees

The best thing about Rawtastic is that it is 100% raw vegan, which means that the food is immaculately healthy. The food tasted good… and also (more importantly) felt good. They had lovely kombucha, a fantastic raw pizza (with nut cheese of a decent consistency!) and pretty-looking desserts. However, service left a bit to be desired. Alas. Can’t have it all.

Chips and guacamole in Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant
Chips and guacamole in Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant

Finally, a super cool Mexican place! We had actually walked into another restaurant near Schonhauser Allee, and the patrons there told us to go to this place instead! And what a good move they made! We loved this place and went back a few times.

The guacamole and chpis are to die for! Really crispy and tasty. Salsas were good too! However, that’s about all you can have if you have a serious wheat allergy. They have gluten-free soft tortillas but they are heated up on the same stove as the regular ones.

Talk to the staff about cross contamination! Not all of them know what they are talking about. Speak to the manager and ask about your specific order.

There’s also the ubiquitous Bionade there! If you’ve never tried, you gotta! It’s light, fizzy, not too sweet… lovely German drink in a variety of flavours: lychee, ginger, holunder berry and more! Cheap. Simple decor. Basic seating. Go for the great-tasting chips and guacamole!

Maria Bonita (13/20)  

Danziger Straße 33 Berlin, Germany 10435

  • Allergy friendly: ***
  • Taste: ****
  • Atmosphere: Simple ***
  • Service: ***
  • Cost: $ Dishes range from RM20+ to RM70+ for snacks and entrees

That’s all I have on Berlin for now! In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you my new recipe inventions – all from a month of home-cooking!



Cooking Invention Week: A Good Lookin’ Bake (5/7)

Hello Folks!

Happy New Year! Welcome to our first post of 2019! We began this blog on 13th February 2013, so we’re almost 6 years old!

We’re still in our series about cooking inventions, and healthful, vegan, gluten-free ones at that!

Here in Switzerland, I’ve noticed that varied, well-arranged, properly (read: generously!) spiced oven bakes get a standing ovation at the dinner table. It’s wintertime, and oven-based cooking spread a delicious, warm smell through-out the house.

Super easy veggie oven bake...
Super easy veggie oven bake…

This particular recipe only requires you to buy colourful veggies and arrange them nicely in your baking pan or sheet.

Suggestions include: tomatoes (slit slightly open), potatoes or sweet potatoes (you may want to lightly boil these first, or cut them really small), mushrooms (add a lovely nutty texture when baked), carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, asparagus, etc.

I also like to use a bake-able fruit, such as an orange, pear or apple. It gives the dish a nice, sweet occasional munch!

Little trick: cut the veggies according to the size in which they will cook evenly. So for example, you’ll want to cut parsnips a little smaller than carrots. If you don’t do this, you’ll have to cook incrementally, i.e. put in the longest-cooking veggies first, followed by the second-longest-cooking veggies, and so on. This can be a waste of time!

Dressing Recipe:

  • An onion, sliced
  • 2-3 gloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (you can also use soy sauce in lieu)
  • Pepper to taste

Once you have arranged your baking tray with all your delicious veggies, scatter the ingredients above onto your veggies. Toss around, so the coating of the “dressing” is even.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees or so. If you see them browning, take ’em out!

Once they are out of the oven, splash a little balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar on your food. You can also roughly chop up some cilantro (or any green herb or veggie) and sprinkle on top. Another idea: dust the top with nutritional yeast (make sure it’s of the gluten-free variety!).

Hopefully this cooking invention series has been a little inspirational to you all in spicing up (or spicing down) your at-home cooking… I wish you creativity and joy as you express yourself in the artwork that is making food!